Although the entire history of the toothbrush is uncertain, archaeologists have found evidence of bristle toothbrushes in the recent excavations of sites located in Africa and India. The oldest of these findings have been dated as early as the second century B.C. In China, toothbrushes made from hog bristles have been traced back to the Tang dynasty between the years 600 and 900 A.D.
The first mass produced toothbrush in the West has been attributed to William Gaddis, an Englishman who, in 1770, fashioned his toothbrush from animal bone and hog hair while serving time in prison for inciting a riot. Among the various improvements made to the toothbrush over the following century and a half included the introduction of celluloid handles in 1900 and the first synthetic bristles in 1938.
The changes in toothbrush design that occurred between World War II and the 1980s were intended to complement tips on how to brush your teeth correctly. Common sense tells us that the proper way to brush your teeth is achieved with toothbrushes designed to improve access to difficult to reach tooth surfaces. This was the intention of Johnson and Johnson when the company unveiled the Reach toothbrush during the mid 1980s.
The curved Reach design made it easier for individuals to follow the most recent dental health tips, by allowing them to thoroughly brush those stubborn second and third molars. Therefore, when used in conjunction with nylon floss, high quality fluoride toothpaste, proper brushing technique, and regular dental visits anyone can achieve maximum oral hygiene.
Regardless of the types of toothpastes or brands of toothbrushes people choose, proper “round and round” brushing technique will always garner better results than using state of the art dental products with poor technique. This is the reason so many children are taught that brush your teeth round and round song that older people might recognize from Captain Kangaroo.
The history of dental hygiene, specifically the development of the dental tools we all take for granted, is fascinating. However, as long as they a person uses a modern soft bristled toothbrush, the types of dental hygiene tools he or she uses is less crucial than abiding by smart dental health tips. The bottom line is lifelong dental health is best achieved by proper brushing, flossing, rinsing, and visiting a dental hygienist every six months.